Contruction Today - July/August 2017 - 101
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making it difficult for them to break into the field. Women who do
manage to get hired for construction jobs are often the subject of gender stereotypes, resulting in employers making assumptions about
their caregiving responsibilities or physical capabilities.
Unfortunately, gender quotas are falling short of solving the
problem. Sometimes women are put to work on a job solely to show a
company is meeting gender goals. However, once the project is completed, women are often fired regardless of their performance or skills.
Research shows that women in construction are less likely to have access to mentors who act as career promoters by signaling the woman's
potential and providing the support needed to ensure success.
Why Do We Need Women in Construction?
Ignoring the lack of women in construction is shortsighted. The
construction industry is experiencing a fundamental shift, as a
looming labor shortage is creating fierce competition for workers.
Economists also are predicting significant growth in construction
spending, causing construction companies to face problems with the
lack of available resources. In addition, technology is transforming
the way projects are designed and diversity is increasingly becoming
an important focus within the industry, in an attempt to bring in
new points of view and ways of problem solving by expanding the
range of workers' backgrounds and experiences. As a result of these
changing trends and baby boomer retirement, the construction
industry needs to rethink its strategies to attract, recruit and retain
The lack of women in construction can be solved, but not overnight.
There are a number of
barriers to getting women
interested in construction.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. p.102
Hensel Phelps is on target to complete a major
project at a Texas airport.
focus on people is the
reason for its success.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Boudreau Pipeline Corp.
PirTano Construction Co. Inc.
TenCate Geosynthetics Americas
One of the best ways of attracting more women to the industry is to make girls today aware
of the career opportunities in construction,
including exposure to female role models.
Reinforcing their exposure to the industry
throughout high school and enlisting the
help of high school career counselors to
promote careers in construction will also
help. Getting more women into the industry,
however, is just the first step. Only long-term
work to dismantle gender biases and the development of a professional support system
of formal and informal mentors will ensure
they stay and flourish.
Lisa Minniti-Soska, CPA, heads the construction group in the Mazars real estate
practice, serving general construction, construction management and specialty
contractor clients. She has over 15 years of experience delivering expert accounting and auditing services, including tax preparation and planning, business
consulting, forecasts and projections, capital and debt financing, and mergers and
acquisitions support. For more information, visit www.mazarsusa.com.
JULY/AUGUST 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM